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Perhaps somebody owes you money and will not pay it back?

Maybe someone damaged your property; your car or other property and refuses to fix it at their cost?

You could always sue them in a court, but that takes time and normally costs a lot of money

Here is another suggestion.

Have you ever heard of “alternative dispute resolution?”

One of the services The Legal Advice Office provides to our clients, and other interested parties; is alternative dispute resolution procedures.

These procedures broadly speaking include mediation, arbitration and other dispute resolution procedures and methods to settle disputes between two parties without proceeding with a civil court action; which could cost tens of thousands of Rands; take two years to finalise; and, if you lose, you have to pay a portion of the other person’s costs.

Alternative dispute resolution is cheaper, quicker and more efficient.

Here is an example of such a situation; which we recently dealt with.

An owner of a property and a builder entered into a building contract last year. A dispute arose and a standoff ensued with the owner refusing to pay the builder any more money; and the builder refusing to return to the building site.

The owner referred the matter to us for mediation.

The written contract, in the event of a dispute arising; provided for mediation first and then arbitration; and failing that, litigation. The latter two avenues sometimes very lengthy and costly procedures.

We mediated the dispute by agreement between the parties and met with both the owner and the builder and settled the matter between them; with a further written agreement between them that the current contract would be cancelled by agreement; and each would go their own way. It took 2 days and cost the owner, our client, R 4000.00.

Is that not a more efficient and cost effective way of dealing with a dispute; rather than through expensive attorneys and litigation costs.

Mediation can be used in almost any dispute situation and is efficient and cost effective.

Tell us what you think?

Please visit our website at or simply send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will revert to you within 48 hours.

Should you wish to comment on this or any other legal topic; please also just send us an e-mail; and we will respond within the same timeframe.

Thank you.

The Legal Advice Office Team.


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Legal Advice Office

South Africa

Kandelaar Street, Vermont, Hermanus
Phone: +27 (0) 82 093 2304